Asaf Zamir
Asaf ZamirHadas Parush/Flash 90

Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir (Blue and White) announced on Saturday night that he intends to vote at the cabinet meeting against a full lockdown.

"There is no doubt that the dramatic increase in coronavirus cases requires drastic measures. It seems to me that it is clear to everyone. And yet - a full lockdown of the entire country during the holidays is too extreme and has economic implications that entire industries will not recover from. I will therefore vote against the decision to impose a full lockdown tomorrow at the cabinet meeting,” he said.

“There is no reason to prevent the activities of the bed & breakfasts that have no infection at all. There is no reason to completely prevent hotel activity in green cities in the most important month of the year. There is no reason to completely close restaurants while allowing gatherings in synagogues and while cultural events that have finally returned in capsules in the open air are meanwhile being exemplary," he said.

"Among the few achievements of our unity government we can mention, among other things, the establishment of the Coronavirus Cabinet and the appointment of a national project manager who will lead the crisis management in a professional manner. The project manager has constructed an intelligent and fair plan and it is our job to approve and promote his recommendation.”

“I know it produces political difficulties. In a divided country like ours, with governance issues in parts of society that have always existed - it is not easy to tell someone that he is being limited while another person is not. It is socially and politically complicated to say that there will be classes in one place and not in another. And it is very complicated to suddenly enforce the law in places where it has not been enforced for years. All true. But, that is exactly why we supported the formation of a unity government - so that at this critical point in time - it will be possible to make the right decisions even if they are accompanied by political and social difficulties. And it's not just a religious or geographical matter.”

“Outrageous violations occur everywhere, from a nightclub in Haifa this week to a huge wedding of Hasidim in Haifa. From a huge engagement party in the Sharon to huge weddings in Arab localities in the north. No one sets an example here, including some of my colleagues in the Knesset and the government, and that is the result.”

“And yet - there are places where there are not many violations. Places where most people are strict and therefore morbidity is low - and our responsibility is to allow the continuation of life in these places, under restrictions, and at the same time produce lockdowns in areas where there are larger number of cases. There are other more proportionate alternatives. The fight against coronavirus is an ongoing project of buying time until a vaccination is available and learning to live alongside the virus as long as there is no vaccine so as not to collapse people's livelihoods and lives in general.”

“A full lockdown is better than the collapse of the health care system - but it is imperative to give a chance to the ‘traffic light’ outline that has been worked on so hard and was so complex to approve before we take more drastic measures. Do not succumb to petty politics. We must rise above narrow interests in order to make the best decisions for the public.”